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Cautiously optimistic

This article came through on my Facebook feed yesterday and I found it interesting because this week marks 10 years since my MS diagnosis. I may be off a little on the date but I’m almost certain it was early October. It was a month or so before my daughter was born, which was 11/05/09. So, close enough.

Anyway, I find it helpful sometimes to reflect on how my mindset has changed, whether it’s better or worse, or both. Most of the time these days, it’s better.

Ten years ago I saw myself certainly being wheelchair bound by now, or at least very heavily reliant on my walker. But instead I find myself fully mobile. I have stored away a walker and 3 canes that are for sure covered in dust by now. My husband and I have talked about getting rid of them altogether, because it’s been so long since I’ve needed them. I am not quite sure I’m ready to take that step.

See, if I’m being completely honest, that suggestion frightens me. Yes, I’m doing well and I’m running races, but the nerve damage is still there, and this article reminds me of that sobering fact. I can run all I want, eat all the vegetables my heart desires, but I can’t heal the scarring that has been done to my nervous system. Only God can do that.

I want to live courageously, without fear of the future, because it’s so much better than living in fear, which is where I was 10 years ago. Heck, even 6 year ago I was there, stuck in fear mode. My body and brain were shutting down on me as a coping mechanism. But that is no way to live, and I am fairly confident those days are behind me.

As I’m sitting here writing I’m gaining courage to let go, so pictured below I present to you my canes. From left to right: The gray cane is folded for easy transport, The 2nd cane was actually my first cane following diagnosis and has ladybug stickers on it that I applied myself (Bug was my nickname through high school and many years beyond), and the last cane is covered in a paisley pattern, because I love paisley. The walker is buried in the basement and not worth retrieving for this photo, but I’ll tell you I put flame auto decals on it and named it Speedy. So you know it’s cool.

I don’t know about getting rid of the walking aids. There is still a quiet voice back there whispering “what if?” and they do hold memories for me. However, they are not very joyful memories, so Marie Kondo would encourage me to let them go. Maybe I’ll just keep the paisley cane, because it’s just so pretty. It does spark a teensy bit of joy. ūüėĀ

No, I’m still undecided. I’m going to go for a quick run and see if I can make up my mind!

Summer break has begun!!

We started off our summer break with a trip to the dentist yesterday (because I’m the best mom ever) via Spec-tran. Then today we went to Taco Bell via bikes (theirs) and feet (mine). I refused to buy fast food for the kids so they opted to pay for their meals. I was just in it for the miles.

This run went pretty well, considering my recent knee problems. I wore a new knee brace that was surprisingly comfortable to wear. I still had some knee pain beginning in the 4th mile, but the compression from the brace seemed to keep it tolerable. What I noticed in the beginning was that the added support on my right knee seemed to help me lift the left leg when I began to experience a little foot drop. I’m not sure how or why that works but I’m not complaining. The drop foot used to be so much worse and now I barely think about it. I’m just praying my body continues to cooperate as I add on more miles.

I really love that my kids enjoyed riding their bikes while I ran. This will allow us to go to a lot more places around town. They get their fun and I get my training runs. It’s a win-win. Of course the ultimate bonus is that we are spending quality time together.

I am super excited for this summer. Kids are getting bigger, I am getting stronger, it’s gonna be great.

When you realize you have the power to change

In some of the circles I associate with, people with MS will¬†often say, “I have MS, but MS doesn’t have me.” It’s a statement meant to convey courage and¬†determination that MS will not keep them down. They are not willing to admit defeat. And while I’m not one of those who often repeats that phrase, I definitely agree with the sentiment.

However, I came to¬†a realization about a month ago. In some ways, MS did “have” me. Sure, I still smile and make jokes, and I don’t complain much about the invisible symptoms I’m experiencing. But on some level I was still letting the diagnosis limit me.

I’ve never been a fan of running, but I do acknowledge the benefits of it. My siblings are runners, one cousin, a few friends. They all thoroughly enjoy the experience of it. Also, my son loves to run, and we’ve talked over the past year about running a 5k together.¬†I know¬†my body can’t run a 5k at this point,¬†but¬†I haven’t been training for it. Why? Because I was scared. Mostly scared of losing my balance mid-stride and falling flat on my face, but also afraid that on the last lap my nerves would decide to stop communicating with my feet and I would¬†not only fall, but land myself in another full-blown relapse.

There are so many problems with this thinking. One, I’m letting fear make the decision for me. I don’t care for making any decisions out of fear, ever. Two, there is absolutely no record, that I know of, of exercise causing an MS relapse. It just doesn’t happen.

And I don’t know how I came to this realization exactly, I just remember that I did. And when I did, I got mad. But only long¬†enough to let it motivate me to do something about it. So I decided to make a commitment¬†to getting on the treadmill DAILY, and we would just see how it goes. Treadmill running is not ideal, but it works. I get to stay home, so I can run in my pajamas (and I do, believe me). It doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside, so there is no room for excuses there. And there are handles to hold onto in case I start losing my balance. It’s a win all around.

I’ve been running for 3 weeks minus most of¬†last week (self-diagnosed bronchitis) and I’m feeling stronger already.¬†My energy level definitely feels more balanced than it was. Also, I’ve lost 3 pounds I didn’t expect to lose, so that’s an added bonus. Love it when my pants fit better! I’m on¬†a couch to 5k program. It’s supposed to be 3 times¬†per week, but I’m doing it every day because I know it would feel like I’m skipping a day and then I would just lose momentum. So that’s victory #1.

Victory #2 involves the training of our dog. It’s actually a lot of little victories, so I’ll save that explanation for another post later this week. I promise I’ll try to make it sound as exciting as I feel. I guess if you have any idea how much I have hated this dog (but don’t anymore), you will be able to share in my excitement. So stay tuned, folks! I’m still here!

Can we talk about my coffee maker?

Did I mention my husband bought me a Keurig for Christmas? He did. A red one! And it was such a surprise. He also bought me a new set of knives, but that wasn’t so much a secret because he bought it with our shared Amazon Prime account and I get all the notifications. But I digress. I have a Keurig, and I am loving it¬†just as much as I thought I would. It was one of those things you drool over at other people’s houses, but figure you probably wouldn’t love it as much as you think you would, and just chalk the drooling up to good old fashioned envy. Which is why I never went out and bought one for myself.

But don’t you know? I DO love it! Well, as much as you can “love” an inanimate object. When people say they love their Keurigs, you figure it’s just that shiny new car smell that will eventually wear off. And maybe it is, but I’m really enjoying this single cup brewer. And with the reusable K-cup my son bought for me (at the hubby’s suggestion of course), I’m not even spending more money on K-cups or worrying about polluting the planet with the one-time use, non-recyclable cups. Nope. I grind my coffee beans, and fill my own k-cups, and it makes one delicious cup of coffee at a time. So I’m finding that I’m actually drinking less coffee! Quality over quantity, folks. That, and I can switch it up. If it’s too late in the day for leaded, I can brew a cup of decaf. If I’m more in the mood for tea, I can make that. I can even make hot cocoa for the kids. It’s a win all around.

So, I realize it’s only been 3 weeks which is not nearly enough time for the new car smell to wear off, but I really don’t see it happening any time soon. It’s a really wonderful gift. I heart you, red Keurig. Now go make me a cup of coffee ūüôā

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Starting Fresh

It’s the first day of a new year. I am making no new year resolutions, but I will continue striving to be better. To live in every moment, to find the joy in what I have. Finding that joy is sometimes a challenge, but it’s always worth it. It always overshadows the crud, and the abilities I lost. Last year brought some really great changes in our lives, and maybe I’ve been remiss to share them all here on the blog. The dilemma with writing about all the good things that are going on is that you are too busy embracing those good things to write about them. I believe that is a fantastic dilemma to have. And while I’m tempted to go back and recap everything, I would rather just move forward. Because MOVING FORWARD – well, I am forever grateful to be able to do that. In everything. I’m not stuck in a state of fear or confusion or even waiting for answers. I’m moving ahead. The people around me are moving too and this time I feel like I’m with them. Oh to feel whole again. So here’s to 2016! A year of new life and wholeness. Peace, my friends, shalom.


The illness runs strong in this house. First it hit my son, with vomiting and diarrhea – the kind with no warning – and then a few days later it was my daughter with a scary high fever, and then me with your typical sore throat, stuffy nose, and achiness, and then back again to my son. My husband has yet – cross your fingers – to catch whatever this horrendous bug is. But my word! It’s been 10 straight days of illness and I am plain tuckered out from it. I am ready for it to move on and leave us alone.

Really. That’s it. There isn’t much else to talk about. When I can be sure this crud has officially left our home, I’ll get back on my feet again and resume some more regular writing (and with any luck more interesting, as well). Until then, stay healthy. Drink lots of water and keep your hands clean!

Vocab question

I wonder… must halcyon days always be in the past? Or can we be aware at the time we are living them? Like today… can today be a halcyon day? Right now, as I sip my coffee, snuggled under my fleece blanket, with the dog snoozing at my feet? Is this a halcyon moment? Does that make any sense? Even if it doesn’t, I’ll take it. I could Google it, but I think that would ruin it.¬†I’m just feeling blessedly relaxed and at peace, and¬†these are¬†feelings I so seldom grasp that I want to cherish¬†the moment¬†now, while I can.

That is all. Carry on y’all!

To be continued

I’ve been absent, I know. It’s just, well, we bought a new house. It’s been kind of a whirlwind. A good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless. I plan to blog all about the changes, and I have been journaling offline, so once we have working Internet I will fill you in. For now you are getting this condensed message typed from my phone.
A lot has happened, a lot has changed, but I assure you that I am still here. And yes, I am, for always, still Mindy. ūüėČ

Never Forget

I am a grown woman, and my dad is a World War II history buff, so I’m embarrassed to admit this. Until yesterday, I had no clue where Pearl Harbor was. I am reading a book, “Maude”, about a woman who was alive¬†in the early to late¬†1900s. When the bombing on Pearl Harbor happened, one of her children asked her where that was, and when she said Hawaii, I was more than a little stunned. I guess I always assumed it happened overseas. Not on our turf. And I’ve never had a desire to go to Hawaii, but now I do, if only to visit the Pearl Harbor museum there on the island of Oahu.

I wouldn’t normally write a whole post about something so trivial, but I find it interesting that this knowledge came to me just at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, so I wanted to share. I want to pay tribute to those who lost their lives while serving our country. If you are spending time with family and friends this weekend, eating good food and playing games, please know that you are afforded the freedom to do these things because of the brave soldiers who gave their lives for our country. As we celebrate this weekend, let’s remember why. Let us never forget.

Being a grown-up

(I am blogging from my bed, which means I’m Swype-typing on my phone, so there’s my disclaimer, there may be a typo or two.)

That’s a long, unnecessary disclaimer for what I’m about to say. Basically I am going to toot my own horn. Or embarrass myself, depending on which way you look at it.

Ahem… I am here to announce that I am now a faithful flosser! That’s every night, folks, I have been flossing my teeth. And I’ve been keeping it up since my last visit to the dentist, which I think was in early April. It has become a new habit for me, something I just do, even if I don’t feel like doing it (which is most days). No need to talk myself into it anymore;  I just do it because it’s part off my nightly ritual.

And can you believe it only took me 37 years to get here?